The Daily Star in association with Team Associates and Marie Stopes Bangladesh organised an online discussion titled “World Population Day: Ensuring Choices and Rights” on July 8, 2021. Here we publish a summary of the discussion.
Wed Jul 28, 2021
Monjun Nahar, Lead, Advocacy and Communication, Marie Stopes Bangladesh
This year, the World Population Day focuses on comprehensive rights and choices on sexual and reproductive health. The theme itself refers to the global consensus that reproductive health rights are integral and indivisible parts of human rights. Particularly for women reproductive rights are deeply connected with their life and livelihood. The ability to take decisions about their sexual and reproductive health is a key indicator that women are in control of their own lives.
However, we are talking about rights and choices in a context where women have very little independence to take decision by herself. A woman's education, marriage, profession are mostly dependent on her family members.
Even in countries where abortion is legal, access to safe abortions remains challenging
By Bansari Kamdar
June 15, 2021
One in every four maternal deaths around the world happens in South Asia. Lack of access to safe and legal abortions and contraceptives is a leading reason for the region’s high maternal mortality rate. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), less than half the abortions in South and Central Asia were safe.
In Bhutan, which has a 1.4 percent case fatality rate, one of the main reasons for maternal mortality is abortion complications. Section 146 of Bhutan’s Penal Code legalizes abortion only if it is to save the life of the woman, or if the pregnancy resulted from incest and rape or the mother is not of sound mental condition. Denied access to safe abortion, many Bhutanese women cross the border to neighboring India, where abortion, while legal on most grounds, remains dangerous.
Abortion drugs administered as early as 28 days after a woman’s last period can offer comfort in uncertainty to those who want it.
By Patrick Adams
Dec. 3, 2020
The pregnancy test is one of the most ubiquitous home health care products in America. What resembled a child’s chemistry set when it first arrived on the market in 1977 is now the widely available wand. Today, dozens of different devices promise to promptly deliver what any possibly-pregnant person is assumed to want: knowledge of her status.
Now a new study suggests that for all of the ease and convenience of the at-home test, a significant number of women would prefer not to know. Given the choice, they would opt instead to take two drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to terminate a pregnancy. The first drug, mifepristone, blocks the effects of progesterone, a hormone without which the lining of the uterus begins to break down, while the second drug, misoprostol, induces contractions of the uterus that expel its contents.
They have been shown arrested six months after the college student's death
November 13th, 2020
Police on Wednesday arrested four people including a clinic's director over the
death of a college student during unsafe abortion in Chittagong city.
Md Harunur Rashid, 60, director of Chawkbazar City Health Clinic, and three
female clinic staff were shown arrested six months after the college student's
death in a murder case filed by the girl's father, reports Bangla Tribune.
Experts hail allocation in family planning, but wary of planning
July 06, 2020
The budget allocation in health and family welfare has seen a steady increase in the past few years. This year, the amount increased by 13.66 percent, standing at Tk 29,247 crore.
Although the increased allocation appears to be a step in the right direction, family planning experts believe that the higher budgets are not being utilised in a planned manner.
Abortion – offence or a right?
Dr. Syeda Nasrin
May 30, 2020
Bangladesh does not recognise 'abortion' as a right rather considers the same as an offence under the garb of the term 'miscarriage'. Abortion indicates the intentional termination of pregnancy whereas miscarriage is the spontaneous or unplanned expulsion of a fetus from the womb. Keeping the distinction between 'abortion' and 'miscarriage' aside, this article discusses the legal landscape of Bangladesh regarding 'abortion' with a comparative analysis of USA, UK and India.
Section 312 of the Penal Code, 1860 provides that whoever voluntarily causes a pregnant woman to miscarry, shall, if such miscarriage be not caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the woman, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or both.
Keeping women's health essential despite Covid-19 shortages
Opinion by Anu Kumar
Thu May 7, 2020
(Video: Fear, panic as women navigate pregnancy during a pandemic, 02:59)
(CNN)The world is changing daily as a result of Covid-19. Like millions of people, I now have a virtual workday. I am fortunate -- I'm safe and comfortable at home with my family in North Carolina.
Although living socially distanced and not knowing when life will return to normal is a struggle, I am comforted by the knowledge of the frontline workers I work with around the world working to alleviate some of the harm being inflicted on those living in dense and underserved communities.
How Bangladesh Made Abortion Safer
The government’s effort to help Rohingya victims of wartime rape has lessons for the world.
By Patrick Adams
Dec. 28, 2018
No one knows how many Rohingya became pregnant as a result of rape by the Myanmar military. No one knows how many babies were born to survivors of sexual violence living among the 750,000 Rohingya in camps in Bangladesh.
The systematic sexual violence against the Rohingya reminded many in Bangladesh of their own painful history: During Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971, the Pakistani military and local collaborators killed about 300,000 civilians and raped and tortured as many as 400,000 women and girls.
Prevalence of Unsafe Abortion
Published July 30, 2018
Every day in India, 13 women die of unsafe abortions. It accounts for 10 to 12 per cent of total maternal deaths in Pakistan, and 7 per cent in Nepal. Unsafe abortions have increased three folds in the last decade in South Asia and this has become a pressing problem. These abortions are done without medical supervision, and include activities like inserting surgical devices or inapt herbs and spices or poison through the vaginal canal, consumption of non-OTC abortion pills without medical consultation, and perforation of the uterus. These methods are hazardous to the health of women as such abortions are performed by medically unqualified personnel and sometimes induced by the pregnant women on themselves and more often than not causes disability or worse, death.
With Reproductive Rights in Great Jeopardy, ‘Plan C’ Is More Important Than Ever
Plan C—making "missed period pills" widely available—would give users the power to decide whether or not they wished to test for or confirm pregnancy before taking pills to bring on their period.
Jul 6, 2018
Francine Coeytaux, Victoria Nichols & Elisa Wells
Four years ago, we argued for an important new family planning option. We envisioned a method that could be used at home when a period was late to induce menstruation and thus reassure individuals that they were not pregnant. Plan C, we posited, was not only possible—the technology already existed in the form of mifepristone and misoprostol—but could be the answer to the age-old question asked by women around the world, “What do I do if my period is late and I don’t want to be pregnant?” With the recent news of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s resignation and the rising concern about a likely shift in the balance of the U.S. Supreme Court, the need to ensure timely and affordable access to innovative reproductive health options like Plan C is even more urgent.